5 Rugged Mobile Device Cases for Construction Workers

These cases are guaranteed to make sure your phone stays safe on the worksite.

The average smartphone takes quite a beating – just ask any 15-year-old who is still determinedly texting while squinting his way past a shattered iPhone screen. For devices that are meant to practically be an extension of the user these days, they are still remarkably delicate on their own.

For construction workers, the risk of damage to smartphones increases exponentially. No matter how careful you are, it is always possible that you and your phone will eventually find yourselves in a tight situation where only one of you is likely to survive.

The good news is that there are ways to protect your investment and still carry on with business as usual, most of which involve encasing your phone in some sort of protective cover. The bad news is that many of these cases and covers don't go terribly far to protect the phone. They look great, but you're still going to wind up with a broken phone if you drop it, sit on it, step on it, or snap it off its belt clasp.

In order to help you select a case that will help increase the odds of both you and your phone making it home in one piece, we've compiled a list of the most rugged mobile device cases out there. These cases take the beating so your phone doesn't have to.

 The Case-Mate Tank

The Tank is designed to meet or exceed U.S. military standards for durability and protection. Its exterior is constructed of a rugged polycarbonate with a silicone-cushioned interior for absorbing shock from all kinds of force, including vibration, rain, wind, dust, sand, and impact of all kinds.

It comes equipped with a retractable screen and hip clasp.

The manufacturers demonstrate the strength of the Tank by running over a smartphone with a car. It is about 2.5x stronger and more impact resistant than any other brand of product in its class. It is also relatively inexpensive with an average retail price of about $20 USD.

The Ballistic Hard Core

These cases feature four protective layers. The optional outer layer protects from scuffs and scratches to the phone itself while the screen protector and silicone shock layer protect from cracks or damage due to impact. They also feature a highly durable belt clip for easy access.

These cases are thicker than average, but with four layers of protection, the extra bulk is something that many users find reassuring. Average retail for the Ballistic Hardcore is about $22 USD.

The G-Form Extreme

Made specifically for iPhones and iPads, the G-Form Extreme line of rugged cases takes protection to the next level. They feature patented Reactive Protection Technology that stiffens upon impact, absorbing 90 percent of the force. The outer polycarbonate shell protects well on its own, but all G-Form products also feature an inner TPE insert for more shock-absorbing capability.

So how well does this case really protect? It can withstand drops from heights that no other case has been proven able. The company once dropped its Extreme iPhone Cases from a balloon 100,000 feet in the air to test their protective ability to the extreme. The cases managed to protect an iPhone and iPad in every way except the extreme cold of that altitude.

Both devices booted up fine after a brief warmup and had no structural damage. The video of the experiment can be found here. Now that's rugged!

G-Form cases retail for $30-$75 USD.

The Case-Mate Tough Xtreme

Another high-quality rugged case from the makers of the Tank, the Tough Xtreme is made for a variety of devices, including the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy Series, Nokia Lumia, and iPad mini device lines.

It has a snap-on frame that supports the device on the sides and front along with a multilayered outer casing constructed of durable DuoFlex and PolyCore. These cases are designed to provide ample cushioning and a firm but comfortable grip. These devices provide comprehensive protection, even for the device's ports. The Tough Xtreme retails for $14.99-$19.99 USD on most major online retailers.

The Otterbox Defender

Otterbox is a long-time trusted brand of rugged cellphone cases. It sells models in the Defender series for all brands and types of smartphones and tablets, and its cases also stand up to the “tire test,” protecting phones run over by cars.

These super-rugged cases have three components. They have the same style outer casing made of durable polycarbonate and inner silicone cushion that the Tank has, but Otterbox cases have the added benefit of a thick, ultra-durable belt clip and feature access to all the phone's functions without the need for a retractable screen. Otterbox Defender cases retail for anywhere from $25-$65 USD depending on the device and case style.